Donegal Mart has a good name for high-end weanlings and Friday’s sale had a few choice offerings.
The weanling always has a quiet start to the year, with small numbers moving out in January and February.
March sees the first of them come out for sale and it’s generally the best ones that are picked to go first.
A few exporters have kept the lighter weanling trade solid over the last few months and the return of a few heavy bull producers has also meant that the heavier weanling has improved in price accordingly.
In the 200kg to 300kg bull category, a number of grass buyers kept the trade alive.
These weanlings ranged in price from €2.60/kg to €3.05/kg, with a couple of high-end lots breaking the €3/kg barrier.
In the 300kg to 400kg category, prices ranged from €2.50/kg to €2.90/kg, with a top call of €1,080 for a 364kg Charolais bull.
Heavier weanlings over 400kg were being snapped up by a few big feeders and were generally trading around €2.60/kg to €2.70/kg, with a top call of €1,210 being paid for a 436kg Charolais bull.
In the heifer weanling section, there was a super trade for lighter weanlings, with up to €3.40/kg paid. The general run of 300kg to 400kg heifers were making from €2.60/kg to €2.90/kg, with the top call of €1,420 being paid for a 474kg Charolais heifer.
Heavier heifers were also a real solid trade, with €2,230 being paid for a 714kg Charolais heifer. A show-type Belgian Blue heifer weighing 558kg hit €1,900.
In the dry cow section, it was a similar story to previous weeks, with cows selling to €2.43/kg, with a top call of €1,280 being paid for a 895kg Limousin cow.
In the suckler ring, prices ranged from €1,200 to €2,250, with some of the best prices being paid for cows with calves at foot.
Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, Donegal Mart manager Eimear McGuiness said: “Donegal is normally later country for grass buyers, but the good weather has meant a few of the earlier buyers have moved out this week.
“Forward stores are an electric trade, with a few factories and wholesalers fighting it out for anything that is fit for slaughter or coming close to slaughter.
“With meal and fertiliser prices where they are, farmers need cattle prices to stay up there to cover costs this year.”